By Michael Kitum 


Kenya Forest Service (KFS) emerged the Best Government Ministry Stand for the second year in a row at the recently concluded Eldoret Agricultural Society of Kenya(ASK) Show 2019 themed “Promoting Innovation & Technology in Agriculture and Trade.” The show took place from 5th to 10th March, 2019 providing residents of the North Rift region a week long exhibition on agro-forestry by KFS in line with the year’s theme.The Service also awarded for The Best Energy Services & Conservation Sector Stand and the Second Best Exhibition stand in the category of Demonstrating the Application of Environmental Quality Standards.


Speaking during the awarding ceremony, the chief guest Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Hon. Mwangi Kiunjuri, urged Kenyans to embrace emerging technologies in agriculture and trade to promote food security in the country in line with the President’s Big Four Agenda.


 The CS said “The President is very keen at ensuring that the food security in Kenya is improved and at some point this year he will be launching an online application whereby all farmers will be able to know the weather patterns from the click of a button on their phones.”


The Head of North Rift Conservancy, Mr. Benjamin Kinyili explained to the judges in the Energy Services and Conservation the benefits of using charcoal briquettes as a better source of fuel as opposed to conventional firewood.


“Charcoal briquettes burn longer than conventional firewood because they have a high carolific value, and are also smoke free since they are manufactured by carbonized products making them very convenient for cooking,” said Mr. Kinyili.


 He also added that the manufacture of briquettes uses easily available raw products such as saw dust, charcoal dust, coffee husks and even maize cobs thus making it environment friendly and a very lucrative venture for the youth as the demand for the product is still high within the region.


“Schools, hospitals and other institutions are among the highest consumers of briquettes whose demand is still far from being met,” added Mr Kinyili.


The Uasin Gishu Ecosystem Conservator, Mr. Thomas Kiptoo gave a tour of the stand to a delegation of guests led by the Chief Administrative Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Dr. Andrew Tuimur, County of Uasin Gishu CEC’s and ASK officials where he demonstrated how KFS has introduced innovative ways to improve forestry in Kenya. A case in point being the use of catapults to disperse Acacia abyssinica seed balls in arid areas of Kenya such as Turkana, and parts of Uasin Gishu County. The innovative technique involves coating the seeds with manure and charcoal dust into a small round ball, the size of a marble, which is left to dry for a while and then it can be thrown by a catapult for dispersal.


“The charcoal and manure prevents the acacia seed from harsh elements and pests until when the weather conditions are favorable and the moisture content on the ground is high enough to soften the seed coating, allowing germination of the seed which is already supplied with nutrients from the manure,” said Mr. Kiptoo.


Farmers in the region also got to learn the various programs that KFS has in place to promote agro forestry in Kenya. The Plantation Establishment Livelihood Improvement Scheme (PELIS), a program for Community Forest Associations(CFA’s) that constitutes forest adjacent communities, was among the forestry information provided to public on how farmers in CFA groups benefit from planting crops on the rich forest soils of harvested plantations as new plantation is being regenerated.


Various stakeholders were also brought on board at the exhibition to showcase their products and explain the benefits of forests in the field of herbal medicine and trade of finished wood products such as furniture. Youthful exhibitors using bamboo stems and recycled wood products to design household decorations (chandeliers, vases, carvings etc) explained how forests provide them with a means to make a living and urged the young generation to embrace conservation.


The Eldoret ASK Show comes just before the onset of long rains in North Rift region providing a good platform for farmers to interact with forest professionals and acquire forestry information and demonstrations which they can adopt.


CS Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Hon.Mwangi Kiunjuri, E.G.H presents HOC North-Rift Conservancy Mr.Benjamin Kinyili with the Trophy for The Best Government Ministry Stand.


 CS Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation Hon.Mwangi Kiunjuri, E.G.H also presented a trophy for The Best Energy Services and Conservation Sector Stand to Ecosystem Conservator Mr.Thomas Kiptoo.







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